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1. Back Seat Drivers
     Consumer Behavior is Deterministic of technological development in the media age.
          Dennis. R. DuBe' #3812   Created 01/25/2016   Updated 01/16/2019

Does the course of the river reflect the shape of the mountain, or does the shape of the mountain reflect the history of the river?

Yes to both. They are components of larger structures, and find their definitions in terms of each other.

Such is the case with the content of media, the structures of media, and the media-related behavior of consumers. The relationships between the content of media and the behaviors of consumersare unclear, but tantalizing, as illustrated by a century of academic and commercial research. Yet the relationships among the behaviors of consumers and the structures of media are more clearly revealed.

My naïve verities:

  • In the high-tech marketplace, technological progress is sought in an effort to achieve business goals by generating, attracting and satisfying consumer demand.
  • Technological products are routinely marketed as "upgraded" replacements for previous technological versions of the same products.

  • Technological products are routinely marketed at technologically superior to competing products.

  • Consumers acquire multiple legal relationships with equipment, service, and content providers in the media marketplace which specify their obligations and secure their rights regarding upgrades to new levels of technology.
  • The behavior of consumers can determine winners and losers in the marketplace.
  • Technological advancement is attracted and propelled by consumer involvement and behavior, among other factors.

  • That media frequently occurred in "local markets", for example, where consumers and advertisers already had some form of adjacency (geographical, cultural, social, business, coincidental), and advertisers and consumers would also frequently have direct relationships both within and outside the business context.

    If we analyze that admittedly idealized situation, we can see that there are many structural relationships involved in media consumption. Residents of a local community, for example, would have had complex sets of relationships among themselves, and also with many of the business entities of their community. They would subscribe, shop, join, participate, eat, fight, sleep, procreate, play basketball and bridge, and shop some more, all as acts of "consumption" in a consumer culture.

    [does this belong here?] They would also be immersed in the media bath of the local and national communities, ranging from street signs to broadcast stations to web sites, and would undoubtedly be exposed to a great deal of commercial messaging along with other content. [end]

    We have now the untidy situation of authors, producers and consumers switching rolls willy-nilly , handing meaning both directions around whisper-circles, and assembling audiences out of shadows and statistics. The distinction between "producers" and "consumers", once rigidly held in separate positions by the structures of print and broadcast media, are dissolved in online media, where all producers are also consumers, distribution is handled by robots, and most consumers are producers to some degree .(cite gehl)

    A free market "truth" is that consumer behavior determines winners and losers in the marketplace. Why and how that happens are the money questions, and have guided the direction of much media research. The race has quickened pace since radio and TV edged into newspaper and magazine territory, and now explodes into cyberspace as software, hardware and application development entwine social media into the production and marketing spiral. Technological progress is sought in the effort to attract and satisfy consumer demand, and is marketed in just those terms.

    It is not just the consumptive behavior of humans, but also citizen political activism demanding access to improved technology in many areas, from water treatment, electrical power, railroads, paved highways, cable television, internet bandwidth has repeatedly forced governmental bodies at all scales to finance and install new technology, often in competition with commercial providers

    That type of consumer action is positioned within a larger economic and cultural context of complex relationships among media structure, media content, and consumer behavior. In this context, consumer behavior reflexively provides both fuel and direction for the production of media, the direction and breadth of media distribution, the nature and content of media products, the bandwidth or shelf space for media distribution, and the commercial support for media investment and production.



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